A Guide to Moving to: Maryland

(Everything you need to know - and more)

Buildings at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

So, you're pondering a relocation to Maryland, but your vision board is a few magazine-clippings short of a complete, confident image. Well fear not, friend, you've come to the right place - we've taken the effort of compiling a snazzy, handy-dandy little guide of some of the biggest consideration points for people contemplating a move to a new state - and we're serving it up, Maryland-style.

Referred to as "Little America" or "America in Miniature" due to having all types of terrain (aside from desert), as well as ethnic groups of every origin and plenty of famous people from all different professions - politicians, lawyers, writers, painters, health professionals and religious leaders - Maryland has got something for everyone.

The "Old Line State" (a nickname given by General George Washington) has the highest concentration of millionaires in the country, as well as Edgar Allen Poe's grave, blue crabs and crabcakes, Old Bay seasoning, the birthplace of "The Star Spangled Banner", filming locations of House of Cards and The Wire and festivals of all kinds.

What Maryland lacks in size, it makes up for in population density - it is the 9th most populous state in the country, with a current population of 6,079,602, and about 27,425 people moved here in 2017.

Still hungry for more? Well then, read on to discover more tasty tidbits about Maryland to see for yourself if you'd like to become a Marylander (and start seasoning all of your food with Old Bay). No matter where you choose to move in Maryland, make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy.

Job Market

Maryland is sandwiched in the Mid-Atlantic region - and comes with a Mid-Atlantic pricetag. Living here ain't cheap, and according to both usnews and washingtonpost (as well as others), this is the wealthiest state in the country. With that being said, what could the job market possibly look like?

For starters, the state's unemployment rate is 4.0%, which has been on a slight, steady decline since 2010, when it was 7.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's minimum wage is $9.25/hour, according to minimum-wage.org.

Some of the fastest-growing job fields, include interpreter/translator, information security analyst, home health aid, occupational therapist, physical therapist and personal trainer. The highest-paid positions include surgeon, doctor, OB/GYN, psychiatrist, orthodontist, CEO, pediatrician and nurse anesthetist. So, it seems likely that a good percentage of the state's many millionaires are working in the medical field.

Housing

Unless you fantasize about couch-surfing for the rest of your life, odds are that after a move to a new state, you'll be looking for a new place to live. So, with all these rich people everywhere, what could Maryland's housing market have in store?

Well, the median home value in Maryland is $283,549, with homes currently listed on the market at an average of $295,900. The median price of homes sold is $265,300, and median rent for a house is $1,650/month. Home values are predicted to increase by 4.3% over the next year.

As far as apartments go, average rent for the state as a whole is a staggering $1,591/month for a one-bedroom. Of course, it matters exactly where you look, but some of the pricier regions in the state include Frederick, with one-bedrooms going for about $1,150/month, Baltimore, for $1,188/month, Rockville, at $1,696/month and finally Bethesda, at a heart-clenching average of about $2,003/month.

Additionally, there's a metric ton of new construction popping up literally all throughout the midsection of the state - especially around hotspots like Frederick, Annapolis, Baltimore and Rockville. There's also new stuff being built through the lower right tip of the state - near Ocean City and Salisbury. The only place that seems a bit barren and un-happening is the state's northwestern tip - out past Cumberland.

The origin age of housing is mainly from the '80s - most homes still standing were built between 1980-1989. So, if middle-aged houses that were around for the Cindy Lauper era don't rock your socks, check literally anywhere through the middle section of the state to find a much newer place that'll tickle your fancy.

Culture and Natives

Residents of "Little America" come in all shapes and sizes, including the fast-paced, high-strung, ever-stressed white-collar workers who are constantly in transition of either being at work or commuting to work. Work ethic is high in Maryland, and as a result, so is road rage. 

While technically just south of the Mason-Dixon line, many Marylanders still consider themselves to be Northerners - however, there is a mix of both northern and southern influence here. There's also a variety of accents, for example, the name of the state is often pronounced, "Merlin" or "Marilyn", depending on who you ask, and Baltimore is often pronounced, "Baulmer". People from all over the state will warmly refer to you as "hon" - even if they don't know you.

People here are so passionate about their state, and its unique flag design, that bumper stickers of all different types of animals super-imposed with the state flag can be seen on just about every other vehicle. Locals are also proud of their state sport, jousting, and take frequent trips to Medieval Times dinner theater to catch a show featuring it, while gnawing on some olden-days-style turkey legs.

If you're not a fan of seafood, residents here may not want to associate with you - the state is known for its delicious blue crabs, and Marylanders are crazy for crabcake everything - sandwiches, sides, salads - you name it. They don't just limit their Old Bay seasoning (a blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, dried mustard, etc.) to their seafood, though - locals will sprinkle it on just about anything - including popcorn. It's like some freakish type of state-secret drug fetish.

Little America Trivia

In addition to being the birthplace of "The Star Spangled Banner", Maryland is also the birthplace of Cal Ripken Jr., who is basically like some kind of a deity, here. Ripken Jr. played for the Baltimore Orioles for more than two decades, played in 19 All Star games and won two MVP awards. Locals also love him because he's very active in the state and donates a generous amount to various charities.

Sports are a big deal in this state, aside from just baseball. In addition to the Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore also houses the M&T Bank Stadium, which is home to the Baltimore Ravens. FedExField, located in Landover, is home to the Washington Redskins. Plenty of locals here are also fans of the Washington Capitals, with their home at the Capital One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center) being just a short drive away, in Washington, D.C.

The high tax rates and staggering number of millionaires might leave you inclined to think that Maryland is a red state - but on the contrary, it's actually quite liberal. The only times in history that the state has ever voted Republican were in the landslide victories of former presidents Richard Nixon (in 1972), Ronald Reagon (in 1984) and George H. W. Bush (in 1988).

Baltimore draws a rather eclectic mix of people, including artsy types. There's a festival here for just about anything, too. Baltimore is home to two particularly big annual festivals, including Comic Con - where people dress up as their favorite comic heroes or villains and browse hundreds of vendors or attend pannels of their favorite artists - and Otakon, which celebrates all aspects of Asian pop culture - anime, manga, music, movies, video games, etc. - people go all out with their cosplaying for this one, too.

Maryland is proud to have plenty of cinematic screen-time history, too. Of course, there's the infamous The Blair Witch Project from 1999, in which a group of local friends/students embark on an adventure to create a documentary of the "Blair Witch", a (fictional) local legendary murderer. Shot like a documentary in itself, many were originally fooled into thinking that the movie was a true story.

The famous musical Hairspray was also set in Maryland, and Die Hard with a Vengeance, which, while set in New York and Canada, was actually filmed in Baltimore County due to Bruce Willis already being in the area, filming another project. Recent, popular TV shows House of Cards and The Wire were also shot on location in the "Old Line State". 

Can't-Miss Maryland Fun + Activities

Crazed sports fanatics, costume-wielding comic book geeks and aspiring movie producers alike can all find plenty to do in the Old Line State.

Here just a few of the state's main attractions:

  • National Aquarium: Located in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area, this giant aquarium has 16,500 different specimens, with more than 660 different species of animals - including reptiles, fish, mammals, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and a variety of Australian animals - according to the official website. There's also a dolphin show, an opportunity to pet stingrays and an adorable and well-loved giant three-legged tortoise, who was rescued and rehabilitated from the wild.
  • Assateague Island: Imagine sunbathing at the beach and hearing the unmistakable sounds of hooves galloping by. More than two million people every year head to Assateague Island not just to camp on the white sandy beaches, but to witness the heard of feral ponies - called "Chincotagues" - native to the island. There's an annual event called the Chincoteague Pony Swim in which the ponies are brought to the mainland and put up for auction.
  • Antietam National Battlefield: Protected by the National Park Service and located in northwest Maryland along the Antietam Creek, this historic site pays homage to the bloodiest single-day battle in America's history - The Civil War. The battlefield site is here for your exploration, as well as the Antietam National Military Service which has 5,000 graves of soldiers from the Battle of Antietam, World Wars I & II, the Spanish-American War and the Korean War.
  • Ocean City's Boardwalk: Across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is Maryland's most popular beach town (and senior week destination), Ocean City. One of the main attractions is its boardwalk, which has dozens of eateries, tattoo artists, shops, museums (including Ripley's Believe it or Not!), bars, rides and of course, the beach. Don't miss trying some of Thrasher's French fries - which consist of boardwalk-style fries doused in malt vinegar and salt - or you'll unquestionably be shunned by the locals.
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival: This annual fall festival is set in a fictional 16th-century English village called Revel Grove, and spans 25 acres of land. Cosplayers attend this festival to eat and drink, as well as attend shows at one of its eight different theaters or at the jousting tiltyard. You can also ride elephants or camels - so long as PETA isn't there protesting (which has happened). 

Pros and Cons of Living in Little America

We know that you're already dressing up in your favorite costume, adjusting to the flavor of your old favorite foods being hidden beneath Old Bay and polishing up your new "Merlin" accent - but hang tight for just a moment. Before you start packing for your cross-country move, it may be in your best interests to check out a brief list of some pros and cons to living in the Old Line State. But hey, we're not your boss - we just make suggestions.

Here are some Marylander-approved PROs to living there:

  • Close Proximity to D.C.: Some of the state's biggest cities - Baltimore, Frederick and Rockville - all sit at an average of just about an hour's drive from the nation's capital. Because of this, many events are within a day trip for locals, including concerts, museums, walking tours, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, sporting events and more. Lots of big name celebrities, musicians and stand-up comics frequently come to D.C.
  • Northern and Southern Vibes: Though it is right below the Mason-Dixon line and technically a part of "the South", plenty of Marylanders consider themselves to be northerners - in fact, asking a resident whether Maryland is technically a part of the North or South will likely start a full-fledged debate. Because of this, the state has plenty of influence from both sides, leading to a nice variety of culture - food, accents, attitudes and more.
  • Mixed Terrain: A major reason for the nickname, "Little America", Maryland has just about every type of terrain in the country - mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, valleys, cities, suburbs and forests - the only thing missing is the desert. This variety allows for all different types of outdoor sports and events, and different experiences of the state's unpredictable weather. There's a lifestyle here for just about anyone. 
  • A Variety of History: In addition to being the birthplace of our national anthem, the state also founded the U.S. Naval Academy in its capital, Annapolis, in 1845. Baseball legend, Babe Ruth, the "Sultan of Swat" was born in Baltimore. The state is also the home of some famous historical battles, including the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. 
  • Caves: Fans of underground wonders will not be disappointed here - Maryland is home to many different caves, including Crystal Grottoes Caverns, which is the most naturally kept cave in the world. It has more stalactite, stalagmite and helectite formations per square foot than any other cave discovered by man, according to its official website.

Now for the local-consensus CONs:

  • High Cost of Living: The cost of living index for Maryland is 116 - 16 points above the national average. It was ranked as the country's seventh-most expensive state to live in in 2017. The close proximity to D.C., as well as major cities like Rockville and Bethesda, shoots up Maryland's property prices and values, as well as its taxes. The closeness to our nation's capital comes at quite a price - literally.
  • Traffic: According to the "U.S. Census American Community Survey", Maryland has the second-longest average commute time in the entire country - at 32 minutes, each way (the national average is 25 minutes). In that same survey, the state also ranks last in the percentage of drivers with an "easy" commute. As if that's not bad enough, the state has also been ranked as the "worst to drive in" and consistently ranks in the top three positions among many other websites. So where are all those people driving? Probably to their far-away jobs in D.C., Baltimore, Rockville or Bethesda.
  • Crime and Homelessness: Baltimore has earned its fair share of nicknames, one of them being "Body-more, Murderland". In fact, the city was ranked as number seven on the list of the "10 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities." The website also states that Baltimore "ranks in the top 15 U.S. cities for all violent crimes" and is "plagued with drugs and poverty", as well as homelessness.
  • Cicadas: Though they're reportedly supposed to arrive only every 13 or 17 years, recently, swarms of cicadas - estimated to be as many as billions or trillions - have begun to arrive in off-season years. These insects are impossible to ignore - they sound off in-synch with such a volume and buzz that summers here can feel like some sort of natural/outdoor rave on steroids - one that doesn't end, and that you can't leave...or tune out. Bring your earplugs or best pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Weird Laws

We know you came to get the goods regarding all-things Maryland, and don't worry - we promise to deliver. That's why we've compiled a list of a few of the strangest, lamest, most downright, "...Huh?" laws still in existence, for your enjoyment.

Here are a just few:

  • Thistles may not grow in your yard. This sounds like something you'll have to take up with Mother Nature herself, Maryland.
  • Men cannot buy drinks for female bartenders. It does seem a little redundant.
  • Eating while swimming in the ocean is a no-no. Even though those Thrasher's fries are super tasty and you want to eat them all the time, it's safest to consume them on land.
  • Women can't pick through their husband's pockets while they are sleeping. We have two questions: 1) Why would they feel the need?, and 2) Who sleeps in pants with pockets?
  • You can't pretend to be a psychic in Caroline County. People's futures are a serious matter, afterall. 
  • Men can't go topless on the OC Boardwalk. C'mon, there are children there - CHILDREN!
  • You can't swear in Baltimore. The amount of times this one must get broken (on a daily basis) is pretty %&@#ing hilarious.

Preparing to Move to Maryland, My Maryland

So there it is, folks - a bite-sized, TV Guide-edition style reference list of all-things Old Line State, served up with crabcakes and boardwalk fries. We can't lie and say that we're able to bring you absolutely everything you need to consider before making a potentially permanent relocation move cross-country (we'd both get bored after a while), but it's our hope that we've supplied you with just enough to start those decision-making wheels a'turnin'.

Now it's in your hands to decide if you'd like to become a Marylander - flying the most unique state flag in the nation, sitting in some of the worst traffic of the country, eating some of the tastiest seafood around, attending all kinds of nerdy or cultured festivals, living amongst millionaires, making day trips to D.C. or Baltimore, or recreating your own documentary of a fictional witch. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy. 

We've had a great time bringing you this sneak preview of the state, and hope you've enjoyed yourself, too. Good luck - and, seriously, don't forget the Old Bay!

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